One of my reasons in writing on apologetics and critical Bible scholarship was to highlight how theological approaches to the text can sometimes be intellectually dishonest when they prize the maintenance of the belief system over an open-minded analysis of the evidence.
The conversation continues today with Scott Bailey’s review of a book that attempts to offer an answer for balancing a Christian approach to the text with an academically faithful one. According to Scott’s review, the book fails to offer anything meaningful to move the discussion forward. Here’s a telling quote from Scott:
But the way they read (the “right” “Christian” and “biblical” way) the Bible is a hindrance to the sort of rigorous academic investigation of biblical studies which is quite ironic in a book about academic faithfulness.
A short while later, James McGrath posted about having an introspective faith, being open to honestly considering one’s own traditions. Here’s his opening paragraph:
The unexamined faith is not worth having. Religion has had many critics from without, and still does. But one characteristic feature of the Biblical tradition is that it is full of critics from within, those who examine their own tradition and challenge themselves first, and then their contemporaries, to rethink it and to live it differently.
So, I recommend Scott’s review for an example of thinking that’s holding back progress (the book’s, not Scott’s) and James’s post for an example of the kind of thinking that moves things forward.